Ever wondered why things fall and what keeps you on the ground? It’s gravity! Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity, bringing about a revolution in human life and how we understand things.
Legend has it that Sir Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree, and an apple fell on his head. He wondered why the apple fell and did not just float or fly up. Newton thought hard and realized that there is a force that pulls everything down. He named that force gravity. Gravity is also called gravitational force (1)
Read on as we tell you what gravity is and why it is essential for us. We also give you a few exciting facts about gravity for kids in this post.
What Is Gravity?
Gravity or gravitational force refers to the force that pulls matter together (2). Matter is anything that has a mass and occupies space; in short, it is anything that you can physically touch (3). The more the matter, the stronger the gravity. Due to this, all the planets and moons revolve around the Sun.
We do not fly off from the Earth’s surface because of its gravity on us. In turn, we also impose this gravitational force on the Earth. However, as the Earth is huge as compared to us, our force on it is minimal (2)
Gravity also depends upon how near or far objects are placed from each other. Thus, the Sun’s gravity keeps all the planets in their orbits (4), and we are placed on the surface of the Earth and not pulled by the Sun’s gravity, which is much stronger than that of the Earth’s (2).
Due to gravity, things also weigh differently on different planets. The mass of an object remains constant on all the planets, but weight changes. Your weight is the sum of the pull of gravity between you and the object you are standing on. Thus, when you stand on a weighing machine, the value shown is the force of attraction between you and the Earth (5). If you are on another planet, your weight will change depending upon the weight of the planet you are on (6).
Some Simple Examples Of Gravity
Here are some simple examples of gravity that you have experienced.
- When you throw a ball up, it comes down.
- You do not fly in the air when you jump.
- You slide down and not up from a slide.
- Water in the glass sets at the bottom and does not float at the top.
- A fruit falls down a tree.
- A rock rolls down a hill.
- When poured, the milk falls in the cup.
- Feathers eventually fall on the ground.
- Snow and rain fall to the ground.
Importance Of Gravity In Our Life
Gravity is vital for us to live comfortably on Earth. It influences our day-to-day lives on a large scale.
1. It keeps us grounded on the Earth and prevents us from floating away.
2. It keeps Earth at a specific distance from the Sun, due to which we feel neither too hot nor too cold.
3. The Moon’s gravitational pull results in the high and low tides in the ocean (7). Tides cause changes in the Earth’s landforms, help in the formation of creeks and inlets, and help us generate electricity.
Facts About Gravity
1. The bigger the object’s mass, the greater is its gravity.
2. Gravity guides the growth of plants and all the vegetation.
3. The gravitation pull in a black hole is so strong that even light cannot escape from it.
4. If you weigh 100 pounds on Earth, you would weigh 38 pounds on Mars.
5. We don’t actually “feel” gravity. We only feel the effects of trying to overcome it by jumping or falling.
6. Gravity always pulls; it never pushes.
7. There is zero gravity in outer space, so you would be weightless if you were floating out in space!
8. Objects weigh more at sea level than on the top of a mountain.
9. To escape Earth’s gravitational pull, you would have to travel seven miles (about 11 kilometers) per second.
10. The Sun has the most powerful gravitational pull in our solar system.
11. People grow taller without gravity. Astronauts grow up to three percent taller while living in microgravity.
12. Gravity has been around since the beginning of the universe, and it works the same way everywhere in the universe.
Now you know how vital gravity is to us. Sir Isaac Newton, a visionary of his time, was a man looking in all directions to answer the questions most people didn’t even know to ask. It is crucial to question first and then strive to find answers to something you don’t know. This is how great discoveries are made, and legends are born.